Happy Holidays

Unknown German Master, The Adoration of the Magi, c. 1420
Happy holidays from Alberti’s Window! This is one of the Christmas paintings which I recently discovered while performing a research project for a friend.  Isn’t it fun? I love that the kings are wearing contemporary Renaissance clothing – check out the crowns and the ermine robe! Ermine has been associated with royalty (and the extremely wealthy) for a long time, so it’s not surprising that one of the Three Magi is dressed in ermine. Interestingly, though, ermine was also seen as a symbol of purity during the Renaissance period. I think that the inclusion of ermine fur in this painting could also refer to the pure heart of the king (and perhaps emphasize the holy nature of the scene in general).
What is your favorite Nativity/Adoration scene?
Happy holidays and Merry Christmas!
  • Jim Eikner says:

    I made a holiday post today on the Portinari Altarpiece by Hugo van der Goes: http://goo.gl/eDPKt

  • Hels says:

    I love the fact that almost all the characters were dressed in gold, some of them with crown jewels on their heads. Lush and gorgeous!

    Have a peaceful, healthy holiday.

  • M says:

    Thanks for including a link to your Portinari Altarpiece, Jim Eikner! (And welcome to my blog – I don't believe that you have commented before.) Looks like we were both inspired by the Northern Renaissance period this holiday season (although to some extent I can see why your professor found this painting to be a "medieval" work – that's an interesting argument).

    Isn't the gold color great, Hels? I completely agree. This is a tempera on panel painting – I imagine that it would look stunning in person.

  • AdmGln says:

    Merry Christmas!

  • heidenkind says:

    Wait, you do research projects for friends??? I'm a friend! I have research projects! ;)

    Merry Christmas!

  • H Niyazi says:

    Seasons greetings M! Loved the post – always good to see a bit more on the Northern Renaissance.

    Whilst not exactly a Nativity/Adoration, a similar themed piece I would put down as my fave is Gozzoli's Procession of The Magi – which is just as much about the contemporary history of The Byzantine Empire as was a Biblical Scene :)

    The Private Life of Masterpiece Series just aired its 2010 edition on Filippo Lippi's version of an Adoration Scene. I cant wait to watch it – and may hopefully be hosting at 3PP soon :)

    Kind Regards
    H

  • Jim Eikner says:

    Yes, there is some disagreement as to whether Early Netherlandish painters stand more in the Late Gothic or Early Renaissance…

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This blog focuses on making Western art history accessible and interesting to all types of audiences: art historians, students, and anyone else who is curious about art. Alberti’s Window is maintained by Monica Bowen, an art historian and professor.